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GPS homing robot competition

Bring the medicine.
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This is an idea for an automomous robot competition. The robot would be one which could deliver items to a set of coordinates: for example some medicine to people isolated in a rugged area. The idea is to have a robot reach a set of GPS coordinates, leave a payload (here perhaps a can of coke) then return. Points would be scored for each of those 3 tasks, and teams could field robots for 3 different scenarios: desert, city, woodland. Distances could vary from short (perhaps a quarter mile) to longer (maybe 5 miles). Payload drop area could have some distinctive attribute like a big X.

I have an idea about a robot design for this but will keep it to myself for now. I would love to see ideas for robot designs as annos.

bungston, Apr 28 2010

DARPA Grand Challenge http://en.wikipedia...RPA_Grand_Challenge
Rather more ambitious [8th of 7, Apr 28 2010]

BGM-109 Tomahawk http://en.wikipedia...ki/Tomahawk_missile
Could be modified. [8th of 7, Apr 28 2010]

MQ-1 Predator http://en.wikipedia...wiki/Predator_drone
Can definitely deliver stores to a target location and then go home. [8th of 7, Apr 28 2010]

NGLLC X-Prize http://thelaunchpad...-of-armadillos.html
[MisterQED, Apr 30 2010]

[link]






       Requiring a robot to be a car is kind of like requiring that a method of protection from the weather must look like pants. If you don't have a human involved it doesn't need to be a car. Unless you need your robot to be street legal, I suppose.
bungston, Apr 28 2010
  

       Aerial robots could work on Earth but would be less than ideal for extraterrestrial scenarios where there is less atmosphere.   

       That said, this contest would probably take place on Earth.   

       Re the Predator I hope those are not autonomous yet. I thought there were a bunch of 19 year olds in a basement in Virginia steering them around.
bungston, Apr 28 2010
  

       // where there is less atmosphere. //   

       Milton Keynes ?
8th of 7, Apr 28 2010
  

       Perhaps DARPA's robotic pack might be able to do the job... and it definitely is not even vaguely car-like.
goldbb, Apr 29 2010
  

       My scheme is a bunch of helium party balloons powered by a toy helicopter rotor with a GPS on board and a motor to turn the angle of the rotor. On reaching coordinates the robot descends by releasing a balloon. On dropping off payload robot is again buoyant enough to reascend and return.
bungston, Apr 30 2010
  

       This would be pretty simple with a UAV and parachutes. The trick would be to make it cheap. All the work has been done though, with GPS guided UAVs and even GPS guided parachutes if you don't want to figure out how to fly low. I guess the only time you wouldn't necessarily go aerial is for deep forest, though I'd just do a guided dart.   

       Ha, ha, I just re-read this and realized that this describes the NGLLC X-Prize, right down to the X. So for short distances this is seriously baked. :-) (link)
MisterQED, Apr 30 2010
  

       I banged around thru a bunch of links and found lots of touting of accomplishments, some videos, a very technical Q&A document but no synopsis of ground rules for the prize. I have to think that with that kind of prize money at stake, this task is either much more technically challenging that I envisioned or there are rules about altitude / rocket use etc that put this out of reach of high school teams with legos and cell phones.   

       Re guided dart: that would be better than landing. In fact with the balloon vehicle I described, one could release the payload from altitude attached to a balloon or 2 to slow its descent.
bungston, Apr 30 2010
  

       [bungston] Are you talking about the LLC? Yeah, the rules are not easy to find and the challenge is way harder than a quick look makes it seem. The basic idea includes a minimum payload weight and then just a requirement that the rocket autonomously lift off to a specific latitude, stay there for an amount of time 90 or 180 seconds, transition over to a specific spot and land. In the case of a tie, the one who lands closest wins. In the end the winner one by centimeters.   

       If you want a good read on the subject read the blogs of Armadillo, Masten or Unreasonable Rocket. UR is my favorite. As for fielding a HS team, the GPS units alone were $10k. I think Armadillo was using thousands of $ of helium to pressurize the tanks each time. These are big dollar items and they are only ancillary. There was a lot of money invested in these teams.   

       Balloons are cool, but have massive disadvantages if the wind is blowing. You might sell me on a blimp, but a simple UAV is just easier all around to go from point A to B. Blimps only pay if you want to hover for a long time.
MisterQED, Apr 30 2010
  

       You might like the SparkFun Autonomous Vehicle Competition.
notexactly, Apr 22 2018
  
      
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